WCG Wrap-Up: Wi-Fi Remains Key to Operators Even in a 5G World
By Ira Stern, MOBOLIZE | Senior Director of Solutions Engineering
I attended my first Wireless Global Congress (WCG) event last week in Orlando, Florida, put on by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA). I had the opportunity to meet with and hear talks from several industry experts. While I’ve been around the mobile industry since its early days and have worked with many of the participating companies, l gained an even better understanding about the Wi-Fi market – everything from In-Flight Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi in the world of 5G.
As you can imagine, the topics ranged greatly from in-home Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi for Business customers. The common theme was ensuring a seamless, positive user experience for all users. The three big topics that I found most intriguing include:
1) Maintaining continuous/seamless user profile across venues
2) Managing high-density areas
3) Densification of Wi-Fi in a 5G World
Users are consuming more and more data from their mobile devices while Operators are forced to offer costly unlimited plans to stay competitive. Carriers continue to look for solutions to help steady their costs while maintaining a level of reliable throughput and service to their customers. Wi-Fi remains the key. The shock of roaming costs has accelerated the need for Operators to find ways to manage costs*. Some of the ideas I have heard being talked about were as extreme as not offering roaming, but better strategies included optimizing data usage and Wi-Fi offload.
The topics covered are increasingly relevant as our industry moves forward tackling these issues, as well as looking toward 5G, Smart Cities and IoT. These technologies, products and solutions are going to depend on Cellular and Wi-Fi technologies working together in a seamless environment for the user to get the most out of what can be enabled.
There is a lot of work to be done in the near future to help the vision shared at the conference come to fruition. Personally, I will be busy talking with Operators around their Wi-Fi strategies and how they can better position it’s value by creating a more secure and seamless environment, as well as optimizing their data to reduce costs. Mobolize is uniquely positioned to deliver solutions in a way that provides both Operator and Subscriber benefits. No doubt this will keep me extremely busy until the next Wireless Global Congress in London, which I look forward to attending and seeing our developments over the next few months.
*Check out this Mobolize Blog about how MNOs now really feel the pain of EU Roaming